From the moment the screen fills with light, and we come face-to-face with Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), his eyes are desolate while his voice is filled with love as he recites the poetically romantic words of Loretta’s letter to her husband of fifty years, Chris. Theodore works for BeautifullyHandwrittenLetters.com, a company established sometime in the near future where people are either too lazy or just mentally incapable of writing their own letters to their loved ones. The irony of her begins (as do so many other films) with someone else’s love story. The trials and tribulations of Theodore’s love story not only mirrors the love we share with others but also portrays our uncontrollable and inexplicable dependence or ‘love’ for technology. In that sense, her becomes part science fiction love story/part docudrama, with a message that is both a parable of the direction human behaviour is headed and a misunderstood, timeless love story for the ages. Either way, her is the most captivating and responsive film of the year, demanding attention with a grueling look at our ability to love and be loved.
Halloween has a very fundamental, ABC rubric in the cinematic film world; A usually stands for absurdity, and the countless absurd efforts to scare people in a genre that defines it’s own rules; B is for blood, lots and lots of blood; and C is for Carrie. Hailed as the most popular film to watch on Halloween, Carrie has been in the film world since its first adaptation in 1976, a performance made iconic by Sissy Spacek. Since then, the character has really struggled to find any solid footing in a sequel and a made for television movie. In its third attempt, director Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry, Stop-Loss) delivers a surprisingly satisfying modern retelling of beloved horror novelist Stephen King’s first ever published novel. Serving more as an homage and ode to the novel and classic film, Peirce and company tip their hats and inevitably add small nuanced changes to the story as it appeals to a new generation that can understand the ridicule and embarrassment of traumatic high school pranks with the inclusion of social media and modern technology. Yes, Facebook and smartphones have a lot to do with Carrie’s demising high school reputation.